Last updated December 23, 2022
Over the past few years, electric cars have become increasingly popular – and it’s easy to see why. Aside from being considerably cheaper to run than their petrol and diesel counterparts, electric cars are also more eco-friendly. The number of available charge points throughout the UK is also steadily increasing.
The higher purchase costs associated with electric cars are arguably the biggest barrier to mass adoption. However, despite this, EV drivers can still make attractive savings in the longer term, thanks to the lower running costs.
As such, many drivers are now at least considering making the switch to an electric car. One of the biggest burning questions among prospective EV owners is: how much does it cost to charge an electric car?
In this guide, we will cover the costs associated with charging your electric vehicle at home, public charge points and service stations. We’ll also reveal the cheapest way to charge your electric vehicle.
Most electric vehicles are supplied with a standard three-pin charger that can be plugged into a mains power socket. However, this isn’t a reliable long-term power source for your electric vehicle as it will charge the vehicle very slowly. If you have off-road parking access, you should consider having a home charging point installed.
The cost of buying and installing a home charger generally runs between £800 and £1,000, depending on the type of charging point you choose. Installation costs will also depend on whether your chosen charging point requires hard-wired or plug-in installation - and other factors such as your location.
On average, it costs around £15 to fully charge a 60kWh electric car, which should give you a range of around 200 miles. It’s worth noting that some UK energy providers offer a special tariff designed to subsidise the costs of home charging for electric vehicle drivers.
The cost of charging at a public charging point can vary depending on the type and size of charger you use, as well as where it’s located. It generally costs around 20-35p per kW to charge your vehicle. The amount charged will depend on whether you pay via contactless card, mobile app, or RFID key tag.
Many providers offer subscription packages that allow you to access cheaper rates, with some providers even offering free charging for a set period after sign-up.
The cost of charging an electric car at a service station in the UK can vary depending on the type and speed of charger, as well as the time of day you choose to charge. Generally, there are four types of chargers available at most public service stations in the UK: slow, fast, rapid, and ultra-rapid.
A slow charger will typically take around 7-8 hours to fully charge an electric car. They usually offer charging for free – or at a minimal cost per unit.
Fast chargers usually take 3-4 hours to fully charge your EV - and cost around 14p/kWh.
Rapid chargers usually provide 80% charge within 30 minutes and typically costs 20-30p/kWh.
Ultra-rapid chargers can provide 80% charge in under 10 minutes. However, they can be expensive, with prices usually from 40p/kWh. These chargers are generally designed to top up your battery on long journeys rather than as a reliable, full-charging solution.
The most cost-effective way to charge an electric car is by having a home charging station fitted and regularly charging your car at home, in between journeys. This costs an average of around 28p per kWh of charge.
Some public venues, such as shopping centres, hotels or even public car parks may allow you to charge your EV for free. This isn’t a reliable long-term charging solution, however, as these charging stations are often in high demand and may only provide a certain length of charging time for free.
Electric cars are renowned for their low running costs - and this includes a relatively low charge per mile when compared to petrol or diesel vehicles. Currently, it’s estimated that electric cars run at approximately 2-4p per mile in terms of electricity costs. This makes them significantly cheaper than petrol or diesel vehicles which cost around 8-14p per mile to run depending on fuel prices.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that more and more people are considering making the switch to an electric car in order to reduce their overall transport costs.
Tesla has around 650 Superchargers installed across the UK. These chargers allow for the rapid charging of Tesla vehicles outside of the home - and cost an average of 60p per kWh to use. The company also offers monthly membership for Tesla drivers who use their Superchargers regularly, allowing them to charge at around 50p per kWh for £10.99 a month.
As we mentioned earlier, some UK energy providers offer a dedicated tariff to customers who charge electric vehicles at home. These tariffs offer EV drivers a way to charge their vehicles at a subsidised rate by capping energy costs.